We often hear that someone is "aging gracefully." Could this also mean that a small club is maturing with grace and style? Let's roll back the footage of the German Village Garten Club and discover what transpired.

We often hear that someone is "aging gracefully." Could this also mean that a small club is maturing with grace and style? Let's roll back the footage of the German Village Garten Club and discover what transpired.

During a balmy Sunday afternoon in August 1966, Marion and Alice Boyer invited a dozen other neighbors to their backyard. Each of the men and women had become supportive of the good work Frank Fetch had done in scraping and cleaning the bricks of aged, broken structures and constructing attractive homes and businesses.

As the conversation progressed about what was good and what was missing in the neighborhood, the decision was made to formulate a new group that would add beauty to the brick paths and plant a social network. The German Village Garten Club was created, with Don Clapham of South Sixth Street as its first president. Marion Boyer volunteered to be a "committee of one" to assist the pioneer officers in creating the constitution and bylaws.

The Garten Club membership grew each year. Generous donations from villagers, some achieved by going door to door, assisted the club's growth and credibility.

In 1968, the second Oktoberfest was held in Schiller Park. The Garten Club voted to sell dried flowers, autumn weed arrangements and baked goods at the event. From this first booth to the tents we have today inMay, the club members have worked diligently each year to earn the funds for beautifying the village and hosting gatherings.

The 2011 GartenMarkt may not have "weed arrangements" for sale, but it is the place to socialize and be seen while purchasing plants and outdoor-living accessories. The hard-earned proceeds are all put back into the village in one way or another.

Aging gracefully? The club is celebrating 45 years of parties, fundraising drives, road trips, lectures, news stories, weeding and significant contributions, thanks to the help of many men and women in the club.

Their dedication toward improving the quality of life of residents and planting inspiring public gardens for tourists' pleasure is unmatched today in a private national historical residential area.

Each season, people come and go and each season, their footprints remain. The German Village Garten Club means timeless blooms and endless friendships, all aging gracefully.

Carol Porter is a board member of the German Village Garten Club and editor of its newsletter, "The Bloomin' Pot."

Carol

Porter